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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  December 23, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm PST

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news
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america." >> this case "bbc world news america." renewed fears of sectarian conflict in iraq as a wave of bombings strike baghdad. nearly 70 people are killed and 200 injured. the pentagon issues its deepest regrets over an air strike last month that killed 24 pakistani soldiers. well this report do anything to ease the anger? running against the odds for won olympic hopeful training in gaza. we have the wrong headlines there.
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apologies for that. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. it is difficult to a imagine the situation in syria getting much worse. thousands are believed to have died since the struggle for democratic change began. some feel the country is now on the brink of civil war. what happened today was unprecedented. more than 40 people were killed in what is believed to have been to suicide bombings and damascus. the opposition accused the government of staging the blast to try to influence a team of arab service. >> this was a devastating escalation of violence. here in damascus, scenes that evoke the terror of neighboring iraq. according to the government, to suicide bombers drove cars into
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state intelligence buildings on the west side of the city. a vehicle mangled by the blast. all of this happened in an area that should be one of the most secure in the country. the dead and wounded were said to include security personnel and civilians. >> television broadcast images of the survivors as they recovered and hospital. >> i saw a black car and then an explosion. after that, i was taken to hospital. >> until today, damascus have largely avoided the kind of violence that affected most of the rest of syria. state television began live coverage. much of it is too gruesome to show. within 20 minutes of the blast, the government was blaming al qaeda and linking it to the
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opposition, saying this was not the way to achieve democracy. opposition activists today said these were fabricated by the regime. with independent media severely restricted, it is not possible to investigate the claims and counterclaims. the arab league observers were taken to witnessed the aftermath. this evening, the united states urged them not to allow what has happened in damascus to win. their work of determining human rights abuses. this woman crying to guide is from a village in the north -- crying to god is from a village in the north. here in homs, rebel fighters
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shoot down a government flack. -- flag. >> those were images coming out of damascus today. for it more on the attacks today, a state department spokesman is here with us. it was most likely to blame? >> as you noted, quickly, the government blamed al qaeda. that is in their interest to do that. it could be al qaeda. in one respect, if it is al qaeda, it is the simplest explanation. al qaeda has been largely sidelined this year. it would be a chance to get back in the game. more likely, it is 870 attack -- a suni attack.
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the real concern is if it is suni directed violence, this is an ominous turn toward sectarianism. >> it would escalate things even further. >> what is remarkable first and foremost is for a brutal repressive government tells you that their group is not what it used to be. this tells you that the state is under stress. and the ability of the regime to control what is happening within its borders is now a question mark. >> do you expect this to be a start of the more dangerous phase? >> we will see how the government reacts to this. if they returned brutal violence with an escalation of their own, this could turn into something very ugly, and potentially a
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civil war. >> we have another statement. -- what more than a shooting pieces of paper can united states do? >> the syrian regime is a dead man walking. it's still maintains control of security forces, so it can resist for some period of time. there could be further spasms of violence. syria is a different country than libya. in libya, there was a limited military intervention. that offer does not exist at present. you do not have a consensus within the region. the impending arab league observer mission is still very important. >> do you have faith? >> over time, in the case of libya, you still a crystallization of public opinion. quickly. this is in slow motion. it could get to the point where
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there is further intervention, but we're not there yet. >> thank you very much. among the countries taking a leading role in pushing for change in syria has been turkey. relations between the two have soured. syrian troops had shot at turkish vehicles. the free-trade agreement has been abolished. our correspondent has been after the area to assess the fallout. >> turkey closed its economic success to many things. among them, this factory. much of it goes to the middle east. the only convenient route is a press syria. that has become more expensive and dangerous. >> we export a lot of our products through syria.
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and now we are having problems. >> and now resides takes us to the frontier with syria. it is uncharacteristically quiet these days. you can imagine what this border crossing was like just a few months ago. it was lined up as far as you could see carrying goods from turkey over to syria. the ghostly emptiness you see today is a vivid illustration of how bad relations have become. we saw just a few serious drivers heading back with empty trucks. the free-trade agreement between the two countries has been torn up. a heavy fee has been imposed on cargo traveling through syria.
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the business community is reeling. the high-end mall was once a magnet for syrian shoppers. suddenly, it is very empty on fridays. for visiting ministers, at there are some hard questions over their policy toward syria. these provincial underpin norris -- they did not get much assurance from this minister. >> there is no real obstacle to trade with syria. our bilateral trade is continuing. i trust the people to be patient. >> how do you feel your government has handled the situation? >> have they been helpful? >> not really. if you have a problem with your neighbors, you try to fix it. it is not good.
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>> it has come to symbolize the new wealth of modern turkey. it does have other middle eastern markets. but success in syria was the real pride of this city. without that market, there may be leaner times ahead. >> thousands of egyptians have attended a rally in cairo to voice their anger at the use of violent tactics against protesters. at least 17 people have been killed in the past week in clashes between troops and demonstrators. images of women being stripped and beaten have provoked particular anger. queen elizabeth's husband, the duke of edinburgh, has been taken to hospital for tests after suffering chest pains. prince philip, 90, went to
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cambridge for precautionary checks. the royal family is spending christmas at the country retreat. he disputes the outcome and today he tried to hold a swearing-in ceremony. he was the people's poet to will guide this country in the struggle against communism. vaclav havel was a playwright and dissident who led the overthrow of communism in the former czechoslovakia in 1989. he died on sunday and today world leaders and thousands of citizens gathered for a state funeral. the pope praised his visionary leadership.
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>> they drape his coffin and a slab of the country led of dictatorship. he was the reluctant politician. now the unwanted light falls on his widow. immense moral stature brought leaders to prague today. the french head of state, two british prime ministers, to u.s. secretaries of state, and a former president. at noon, the sound of sirens and the church bells across the nation. >> the former u.s. secretary of state, madeleine albright, said
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he was a unique man who confronted the people with the truth. his intelligence spoke to all. vaclav havel was a playwright to emerge in the 1980's as a leader of a group of young dissidents determined to confront the communist authorities. he led hundreds of thousands in protest until the communist regime collapsed. he made the journey from prison cells to the presidency in a matter of weeks. his guiding belief was that the truth would always triumph over a lie. he was determined to live a life of truth even if it meant going to prison. the people of this country have stopped to remember and paid tribute to the transforming the fact that principle had on their lives. what is his legacy?
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22 years ago, this was the country that puts poets and playwrights and priests in prison. vaclav havel embodied by the values of the democratic european mainstream. today, and a free and democratic people paid their homage. >> you are watching "bbc world news america." from wall street to the euro zone, it has been a bruising year. a series of powerful earthquake has hit this city in christ church in new zealand 10 months after a quake killed 180 people. this time, there were no deaths, but the latest tremors have
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shattered the nerves of people. >> the power of the quake rattled the entire city of christchurch. including the supermarket. it sent christmas shoppers into a chaotic scramble for the exit. these people have lived through the last earthquake 10 months ago and knew what it was capable of. >> there were people running to try to get out. it was pretty chaotic. >> pretty violent. >> at a local television station, staff cowered under their desks, fearful of collapsing ceilings. another part of the city, the ferocity of the event was captured in the smallest objects. buildings shook for several seconds forcing people to race
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to the relative safety of open streets. both major shocks registered well over magnitude 5. >> we are devastated that this has happened at the time of the year, right before christmas. >> in the aftermath, the city and surrounding areas are subject to landslides and flooding. >> [inaudible] >> this latest set of earthquakes will prove deeply disturbing to the people of the city will have come to believe their worst fortune lay behind them. >> today, the u.s. congress finally passed an extension of the payroll tax cuts, which have been bickering down to the wire.
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across the atlantic, the euro zone crisis has been dominated by street fights and government have fallen. if you are watching this in mumbai or shanghai, you are probably having a different year. in his new book, neil ferguson lays out a compelling case of how the west lost their edge. thank you for being with us. are we done for? >> not necessarily. this is not a case of the reversible -- irreversible inevitable decline. but we have to get our act together. i think it is part due to do with cost of doing things worse. not only politically, but
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economically, too. it is not irreversible, but we have to act. >> is there a sense that there is a limit of government's ability to act? however much money you put into it, one trillion dollars put into a stimulus package that only had a small effect on the margins. the government is limited. >> if you think back 500 years ago, it was not a government that caused the rise to happen. my book takes the long view and tries to explain what made the west forge ahead of the rest over half a millennium. it was not the application of fiscal policy. these measures have become such a part of our lives, 20th- century inventions, and in
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fairness today's politicians, they have done a better job in dealing with them than their predecessors back in 1931, 1932. you got to remember that the real drivers were not governments. the drivers work innovators in the private sector, scientific innovators. those people the buildup the institutions were the bedrock of our democracy. institutions like the system of politics, the rule of law. unfortunately, the debate to date in the west is all about how much more government can do to solve my problems rather than what i can do to solve my own problems. >> i am struck by greece and italy, he lets out a form of a change of government that has been enforced -- you ever had a change of government that has been enforced by a outside powers.
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what is your interpretation? >> it is rather nice for my point of view that this crisis has had at its epicenter the ancient capital of western civilization. we have seen the slow and painful birth of a federal europe. that means that country's lose sovereignty -- countries lose sovereignty. your national legislature is denied power. we are in a very interesting transitional stage. not very many people are prepared to talk openly about it. what is happening is that the kind of painful process that produced the united states of america, the states have to surrender their fiscal sovereignty.
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that is the real interpretation of what has happened in the past year in europe. >> let's finish off with the people to pay the majority of the taxes. the wealth gap in the states is larger than it has been for 30 years. what does this bode for next year for ordinary taxpayers? >> indians, the ordinary american household -- in the end, the ordinary american household is a sort of fiction. the famous one% at the top -- there is a huge question that is going to be asked in 2012. to the politics of class make a comeback -- do the politics of class make a comeback with president obama plan that car? or do we see the beginnings of a new politics for generations matter more? a huge gap being run off -- run
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up on both sides of the atlantic. >> i am very sorry to interrupt, thank you very much for being with us. to a south that is synonymous with the holiday season, cash registers. here in the u.s., the traditional pipe organ may be under threat. the financial crisis has slowed new production and many churches can not afford to maintain the instruments that they have. some are bracing to save the instruments from hitting the scrap heap. ♪ >> for centuries, the church has chosen the pipe organ as the instrument of worship. but now, more earthly forces are threatening it. this is one of hundreds of
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organs destined for the scrap heap. although this church in new york is installing a new instrument, many others cannot afford a replacement or the cost of maintenance. john bishop has made it his life's mission to save them. >> part of what we are doing is salvaging some of the original ordinance, knowing that we will be able to reduce them in other instruments. these are a couple of the wooden base pipes of this organ. they're close to 100 years old. >> do they still work? >> fayed to still work. -- they do still work. >> organs can take years to build. each one represents a unique piece of america's religious history. church is trying to attract younger congregations find other forms of music can be more appealing.
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>> there is a movement in the american church which is generally called contemporary were shot. instead of using a pipe organ and the traditional music that many of us are used to, rock bands or country banned or jazz bands or used for the worship. >> dwindling congregations on another front. elsewhere, the need for pipe organs is strong. they had hoped to rescue around 2000 or against, to find -- organs, to find new homes for them all around the world. ♪ he is a nationally acclaimed musicians and the organist at new york streets of the resurrection. when the church needed a new and struck -- instrument, and john bishop was able to find a 100-
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year-old replacement. >> bemis if i make is only going to be as good as the instrument -- the music i make is only going to be this good as the instrument. >> hundreds of other organ still need homes. here, at least, is a match made in heaven. >> that brings today's show to a close. for all of our viewers that will be celebrating this holiday weekend, happy christmas. next week, your bulletins will be coming from london with the same up-to-date coverage of world events. thank you very much for watching.
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>> make sense of international news at >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. and union bank. >> union bank offers unique insight and expertise in a range of industries. what can we do for you?
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